CBI to soon file final report in Srinagar Defence land scam

New Delhi: CBI will soon file its final report in the alleged irregularities in the sale of land near the high-security Srinagar airport worth crores of rupees by the then Defence Estate Officer Ajay Chowdhury and others.

CBI sources said here the agency has almost completed its investigation in the matter in which serious violations of
rules and regulations have been observed which will be put in the final report.

Chowdhury is charged with committing gross irregularities in issuing no-objection certificates. The sources said the report will be placed before the senior officials of the agency and a special court in the form of charge sheet or closure report depending on the advice given by the legal department.

"It is informed that the investigation is at the final stage against said official and others," CBI spokesperson
Kanchan Prasad said here.

The CBI had registered the case against Chowdhury, his second-in-command Vijay Kumar and a woman officer in the same
department under various sections of Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Corruption Act and criminal conspiracy and
cheating under the Ranbir Penal Code, agency sources said.

Chowdhury is a 1997-batch Defence Estates official and has been under suspension after the case was registered against him by the agency.

"CBI has not given any clearance for his reinstatement in service and has not received any such request seeking clearance to be reinstated," the spokesperson said.

According to the CBI, it was alleged that a huge area of Defence Ministry land near a sensitive zone in Srinagar was suspected to have been taken by private persons in connivance with officials of Revenue Department of Jammu and Kashmir State and Directorate General of Defence Estates (DGDE), Srinagar.

There was allegedly no provision to issue NOCs by the office of DGDE for the purpose of sale or purchase of defence owned or occupied land, the sources said.

According to rules, defence land cannot be alienated to anyone without prior approval but the accused officials allegedly entered into criminal conspiracy with unknown private persons and issued NOCs for the purpose of sale or purchase of defence land measuring 12.25 acres which was neither owned by Defence Ministry or by the state government.

During the preliminary probe of the Defence Ministry, it was found that more than 70 NOCs were issued by the defence estates department in Srinagar during the last four years.

These NOCs were issued to private parties to buy more than 200 acres of land near high security military installations in Srinagar.

On the basis of these unauthorisedly issued NOCs by Defence Estate Office, certain private persons dishonestly and fraudulently managed to execute the sale deeds and attestation of mutation of the defence land, the CBI said.

Some of the private persons had approached Deputy Commissioner of Budgam and the Court seeking compensation on the basis of sale deed executed against such defence land and attestation of mutation thereof, the CBI said.

The agency had registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) into the matter last year during which it claimed to have found evidences that No Objection Certificates (NOCs) were granted to private persons for this prime and strategic piece of land arbitrarily.

The Directorate General of Defence Estates (DGDE) looks after the land for training, ranges, depots, airfields, quartering, camping and offices for military activities.

Ministry of Defence owns 17.53 lakh acres of land, out of which approximately 1.57 lakh acres is situated within the 62 notified cantonments and about 15.96 lakh acres is outside these cantonments.

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